Air cargo demand was sub-seasonal in October

Date Added: 8 November 2023

Air cargo demand was sub-seasonal in October

Davies Turner Air Cargo offers a number of expedited international airfreight services, and notes that according to Xeneta’s latest weekly market analysis, global air cargo volumes and spot rates edged up marginally in October, but overall demand remained muted, diminishing hope of a traditional year-end revenue boost for airlines and freight forwarders.

Xeneta reported that latest industry data shows a 2% month-over-month improvement in airfreight volumes in October, which was sub-seasonal compared to the previous five years, while general air cargo spot rates edged up 2% versus September to USD 2.28 per kg, rising above seasonal rates in the opening two weeks of October for the first time since mid-May 2023 before falling back to below the seasonal level.

In comparison to last year, the global air cargo spot rate declined at its slowest pace of -30% in October. This is attributed to the slight uptick in global cargo volumes as well as a slowdown of cargo capacity growth in a month in which global belly capacity returned to its pre-pandemic level, albeit this recovery is varied across major lanes.

Global dynamic load factor, which measures both volume and weight perspectives of cargo flown and capacity available, climbed to 59% in October, but remained 2 percentage points below the level of a year ago. Across the opening 10 months of 2023, load factors have performed below all the corresponding monthly levels of the last five years, pointing to a persistently weak global air cargo market.

“October’s market performance is what we expected to see. It was a marginally busier month but not a cause for much optimism, nor pessimism. Carriers and forwarders are not expecting the market situation to improve significantly until well into the second half of 2024. The ongoing situation in Ukraine and now the conflict in Israel and Gaza will only add to these concerns. This is a volatile market. Freight forwarders are still procuring capacity on a short-term basis but are selling more long-term. That’s a risk, but clearly forwarders are not willing to commit to capacity because of so much uncertainty,” said Niall van de Wouw, Chief Airfreight Officer at Xeneta.

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